Meanwhile, House Democrats are moving forward with their own infrastructure bill.
President Trump is reportedly contemplating a $1 trillion infrastructure investment plan, with the bulk of the plan’s funds used for “traditional infrastructure work, like roads and bridges, but would also set aside funds for 5G wireless infrastructure and rural broadband,” according to Bloomberg.
In the meantime, House Democrats are set to move ahead with a markup on a nearly $500 billion surface transportation bill, the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act. The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will take up the legislation on Wednesday.
The Democratic infrastructure package would authorize funding for the repair and replacement of America’s crumbling roads, bridges, and transit systems. Crucially, the bill includes Buy America provisions, which will ensure that the materials and products purchased as part of the government’s infrastructure package are American-made, thereby investing taxpayer funds for infrastructure back into American communities.
As yet, Trump’s infrastructure plans are but rumor, and there’s no mention of Buy America provisions so far. However, such provisions are essential as China narrows in on U.S. infrastructure targets.
In a newly-released report released on Tuesday, researchers at Horizon Advisory lay bare Beijing’s aim to exploit the chaos of the global pandemic to infiltrate U.S. markets, supply chains, and critical infrastructure, seizing U.S. taxpayer assets and compromising American manufacturing through infrastructure contracts.
“In times of crisis, slowdown, and depreciation, Beijing targets vulnerable market shares and assets,” the report states. “China also positions its State-owned and State-supported companies to benefit from US government spending and integrate into US infrastructure.”
As bipartisan interest in infrastructure investment as a means of economic stimulus grows, throwing tremendous sums of U.S. taxpayer money into infrastructure contracts without Buy America regulations could have disastrous consequences. Infrastructure investment is desperately needed, but its value will be subverted if China succeeds in claiming these contracts, robbing American communities of the jobs that the contracts are meant to sponsor.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) projects that the INVEST in America Act will make its way to the floor for a vote by early July, and Bloomberg reports that the Trump administration is considering including the president’s infrastructure investment plans in an existing infrastructure law that’s up for renewal by Sept. 30.